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HP sets sights on Sun server and storage customers

A new program of channel-delivered tools and discounts aims to woo Sun customers over to HP

With Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) poised to be swallowed by Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), rival vendor HP (NYSE: HPQ) is going after Sun server and storage customers with a package of discounts and assessment tools it will be tapping its channel partners to help deliver.

While the Oracle acquisition is leading some Sun customers to consider their options, HP’s Sun Complete Care program goes beyond just acquisition opportunity said Dave Frederickson, vice-president of HP Canada’s enterprise storage and servers group.

“We’ve been finding customers are looking to lower their overall IT costs, and trying to shift more of their dollars from legacy maintenance to innovation,” said Frederickson. “We’ve seen a real trend for customers to migrate from proprietary midrange primarily to x86.”

The movement is being driven primarily by cost, said Frederickson, in addition to a desire to achieve better scalability and performance and to build a more adaptive infrastructure. To date, he said they’ve documented 100 customer migrations from Sun to the HP platform.

“They’ve seen significant cost reductions in terms of maintenance, database licensing, application licensing, and reduced power and cooling costs,” said Frederickson.

What’s often a barrier to migration, however, and what HP aims to address with the Sun Complete Care program, is the risk element in migration platforms, the element of the unknown that customers often raise.

“Once they see some cost savings and the technology benefits they can reap, it seems to be moving rather quickly,” said Fredrickson.

To help customers get there, HP is offering free migration and TCO assessments that can be delivered thru qualified channel partners, deferred payments by up to 90 days on new HP leases and a zero-per cent lease offer until Oct. 21, a 15 per cent trade-in credit or “green” disposal when replacing Sun SPARC servers with HP Integrity or HP ProLiant DL 785 servers, a 50 to 85 per cent discount off HP-UX 11i with Solaris trade-in, and up to 30 per cent off training and support.

“In order for a customer to effectively migrate from one environment to another it does take a certain skillset. We have HP resources, and our partners have rich capabilities,” said Fredrickson. “We’re working proactively (with the channel) to make sure Sun Complete Care is available to them.”

In addition to Sun customers, Fredrickson said they’ve also had some Sun channel partners expressing an interest in doing business, or doing more business, with HP. Following some Sun channel program changes a number of years ago, Fredrickson said some Sun legacy partners began building relationships with HP, and if the opportunity is right, he said HP does have the ability to onboard legacy Sun partners quickly.

“If we find someone with a high-value solution offering we need that would strengthen our portfolio, we can get them onboard and fast-track them,” said Fredrickson, including offering help with training, time to obtain certifications, and marketing assistance.